Seyyed Abdu'l-Hayy: Respected
sir, last night you contributed to discord among the Muslims.
Well-Wisher: Tell me how I did
Seyyed: While explaining "ourselves",
you divided Muslims into two groups: Muslims and believers. But
Muslims are all one and the same. Those who say the words "There
is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger" are all
brothers. They should not be separated into two groups because
this is harmful to Islam. The Shias call themselves believers,
and they call us Muslims. You must have seen in India that Shias
are called believers and the Sunnis are called Muslims. The fact
is that 'Islam' and 'Iman' (conviction) are identical terms because
Islam means acceptance of the commands of religion. This recognition
is the reality of 'Iman.' The whole community has agreed that
Islam is pure Iman. You have gone against the common view.
Well-Wisher: First, your reference
to the common people does not mean the people of the community
as a whole. It refers to the common people of a group of the Sunnis.
Second, your statement about Islam and Iman is not accurate. Not
only do the Shias differ with the Sunnis but the Ash'aris, Mu'tazalis,
Hanafis, and Shafi'is also have different views about it. Third,
I frankly don't understand why learned men like you should resort
to such trivial objections. This division into two groups has
been made by Allah in the Holy Qur'an. Perhaps you have forgotten
the matter relating to Companions of the Right and the Companions
of the Left referred to in the Holy Qur'an which says: "The
dwellers of the desert say: 'We believe.' Say: 'You do not believe
but say, we submit; faith has not yet entered your hearts.'"
Certainly you must know that this verse was revealed in condemnation
of the desert tribe of the Bani Asad, who were Muslims in name
only. During a year of famine, they flocked to Medina and, in
order to get relief, claimed to be believers. But at heart they
were unbelievers in Allah and the Holy Prophet. This verse verifies
that there are two groups of Muslims: sincere Muslims, who have
acknowledged the realities of Iman, and those who make mere verbal
declarations of faith. In our social sphere the latter group is
entitled to the safety and benefits of the laws meant for all
Muslims. But, according to the injunction of the Holy Qur'an,
they are not entitled to any reward in the hereafter. Their declarations
that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger,
and their making a display of the fact that they are Muslims,
have no real significance.
Seyyed: You are right, but Islam
without Iman (faith or conviction) has no meaning, just as Iman
without Islam has no merit. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "And
do not say to anyone who offers you peace: 'You are not a believer.'"
This verse proves that we must treat one according to one's outward semblance. If anyone says, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," we should accept his Iman. This in itself is the best proof that Islam and Iman are identical terms.
Well-Wisher: This verse was
revealed about a particular person, either Usama Bin Zaid or Muhallam
Bin Jasama-e-Laisi, who, it is said, killed a man in battle who
had declared "There is no god except Allah." He was
killed on the assumption that he had said these words in fear.
But because you think it is in the general sense, we also regard
all Muslims as being pure. Unless of course, we see them denying
the fundamentals of religion. But there is a difference between
Islam and Iman because there are various classes of Iman. Imam
Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq says in the narration of Umar and
Zubair: "For Iman there are conditions, ranks, and stages.
Some of them are defective and their defect is apparent; some
are of better value and are weighty; some of them are complete
and have reached perfection."
Defective Iman is the very first stage of Iman through which a
person passes into Islam from infidelity. Higher degrees of Iman
are possible. Reference to them has been made in some of the hadith.
Among them is a narration in Usul Kafi and in Nahju'l-Balagha
from the Commander of the Faithful and Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq
who said: "Allah has divided Iman into seven classes which
consist of goodness, truthfulness, conviction of the heart, submission
to the will of Allah, loyalty, knowledge, and forbearance. These
seven qualities have been unequally distributed among human beings.
One who completely possesses all these qualities is a perfect
believer. Hence, Islam is in the first category of Iman, in which
there is only verbal declaration of belief in the prophethood
of Muhammad and the unity of Allah. Iman has not entered such
person's heart. The Prophet of Allah told a group of his people:
'O people! You are among those who have accepted Islam with your
tongue, but not yet with your heart.'"
Obviously Islam and Iman are different. But we are not required
to probe the hearts of others. I said last night that the sign
of a believer is his deeds. But we have no right to make inquiries
about the actions of Muslims. We are compelled, however, to indicate
the characteristics of Iman, so that those who are immersed in
sleep may be inspired to perform their duties. Thus they will
be aware of the reality of Iman and will know that salvation in
the hereafter will come only through performing good deeds, as
the hadith says: "Iman means acceptance with the tongue,
conviction in the heart, and performance with our limbs."
Acceptance with the tongue and conviction in the heart are the
preface to action.
Of course we know that this nasty world is only a preface to the
next world. The way of salvation for such a man is closed in the
hereafter unless he becomes a man of good deeds here. Allah Almighty
says in the Holy Qur'an: "I swear by the declining time,
surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good...."
In short, according to the Holy Qur'an, piety is the root of Iman.
And if one has no good deeds to his credit, his verbal acknowledgement
or conviction at heart will still leave him far from Iman. If
it is true that we should consider anyone a Muslim who says, "There
is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,"
why do you regard the Shias as infidels? Certainly Shias believe
in the unity of Allah, the prophethood of Muhammad, one Qibla,
one Book. They perform all obligatory acts, observe prescribed
fasts, go on the pilgrimage, pay khums and zakat (religious taxes),
believe in bodily resurrection, and the Day of Reckoning.
Isn't it you who cause disunity among Muslims? You keep millions
of Muslims separated from you and call them infidels although
you have not the smallest evidence to support such charges. You
do not recognize that these are the devices of enemies who want
to create discord among Muslims by means of such lies. The fact
is that we have no differences in the fundamentals of our belief
except the Imamate and vicegerency. And what if there were differences
in the practices of the faith? Such differences exist among your
own four schools of law, and they are more serious than those
between us. (It would not be proper now to point out the differences
between Hanafis and Malikis or between Shafi'is and Hanbalis.)
In my opinion you have not the slightest evidence to establish
the polytheism or infidelity of Shias. The only unpardonable fault
of the Shias, according to what the Kharijis and Nasibis have
propagated by means of the Umayyads, is that the Shias do not
misinterpret the traditions. They do not give people like Abu
Huraira, Anas, and Samura a place between the Holy Prophet and
ourselves. Even your own jurists and your own great Caliphs condemned
them as liars.
The greatest fault ascribed to the Shias is that they follow the
progeny of the Prophet, Ali and the twelve Imams, and not the
four Imams. But you have no evidence from the Prophet to show
that Muslims must follow the Ash'aris or Mu'tazalis in the fundamentals
and Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali or Shafi'is in the articles of practice.
On the other hand, there are innumerable instructions from the
Prophet telling us that the progeny and Ahle Bait of the Prophet
are the equals of the Holy Qur'an, and that the community should
attach themselves to them. Among these hadith are the hadith Thaqalain,
hadith-e-Safina, hadith-e-Bab-e-Hitta. Can you quote a single
hadith in which the Holy Prophet said that his people after him
should follow Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and Wasil Bin Ata, etc. in the
fundamentals and one of the four individuals - Malik Bin Anas,
Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Abu Hanifa, or Muhammad Bin Idris Shafi'i? Sheikh
Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter IV, reports
from Fara'id Hamwaini quoting from Ibn Abbas that the Holy Prophet
said to the Commander of the Faithful: "O Ali! I am the city
of knowledge and you are its gate. No one can enter the city without
having first entered the gate. He is a liar who claims to love
me while he is your enemy because you are from me, and I am from
you. Your flesh is my flesh, your blood is my blood, your soul
is my soul, your appearance is my appearance. Blessed is the man
who obeys you, woe be to one who disobeys you. Your friend is
fortunate, and your enemy is in loss. One who is with you is successful,
and one who is aloof from you is lost. After me, you and all the
Imams in your progeny are like the ark of Noah: whoever boards
it will be saved, and whoever refuses to board it will be drowned.
Their (the Imams') likeness is like that of the stars: when a
star sets, another rises. This order will continue until the day
It has been clearly narrated in the hadith-e-Thaqalain (acknowledged
by both the sects) that "If you are attached to the Ahle
Bait, never, never shall you be misled." Even the fanatical
Ibn Hajar Makki records his findings in his Sawa'iq Muhriqa, chapter
2 Sub-chapter, 1, page 92, in connection with the verse of the
Holy Qur'an: "And stop them, for they shall be questioned."
And Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi has also quoted from Sawa'iq
in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 95, page 296, (printed in Istanbul)
saying that this hadith has been narrated in different ways. Ibn
Hajar says: "Verily, the hadith of Attachment to Two Great
Things (Thaqalain) has been narrated in different ways. It has
been narrated by more than 25 companions of the Holy Prophet."
Ibn Hajar says regarding the above Qur'anic verse that on the
Day of Judgement, the people will be questioned about the Wilaya
of Ali and the descendants of the Prophet.
He writes that according to some sources, this hadith was narrated
on the occasion of 'Arafa, and some say it was narrated when the
Prophet was on his death bed with his apartment full of his Companions.
Others say that it was included in his last address after his
final Hajj. Ibn Hajar gives his opinion regarding the different
occasions of this hadith: "There is no inconsistency in the
possibility that the Prophet, in his desire to show the glory
of Qur'an and his holy descendants, repeated this hadith on these
and other different occasions. It is reliably reported that the
Prophet said: 'I leave among you two great things: if you follow
them, you will never be misled. And these two are the Book of
Allah (Qur'an) and my Ahle Bait.'"
Tabrani has reported this hadith with this addition: "I question
you about these two: the Holy Qur'an and the Ahle Bait, so do
not try to outstrip them. Otherwise, you will be destroyed. Do
not disregard them, otherwise you will be ruined. Do not try to
teach them, for they know better than you."
Even the fanatical Ibn Hajar, after quoting from Tabrani and others,
writes: "The Prophet called the Qur'an and his progeny, 'two
great things' because these two are so weighty and dignified in
every aspect." The Prophet also said: "I praise Allah
who has filled the hearts of my Ahle Bait with wisdom." And
the Prophet also said in a hadith referred to earlier: "....and
never try to teach them (my progeny) anything since they are the
most learned of you all. Consider them superior to all your ulema
because Allah has created them pure and has introduced them to
the Community with supernatural powers and innumerable other merits."
There is one point in the hadith which stresses attachment to
the Ahle Bait: namely, that the successive generations of the
Ahle Bait, will not be severed until the Day of Judgement. It
is astonishing that some people admit that the members of the
Ahle Bait possess great learning but violate the Prophet's orders
and take as their religious leaders those who had no right of
preference. Can you or we change the Holy Qur'an? Can we select
any other book?
Seyyed: No, never. This is the
Prophet's trust, a divine message, and the greatest source of
Well-Wisher: May God Bless you!
You have spoken the truth. When we cannot change the Holy Qur'an
and replace it with another book, the same principle must be followed
regarding those who are the equals of the Holy Qur'an. So, according
to which principle were those people who did not belong to the
Prophet's progeny allowed to supersede his progeny? I want a simple
answer to this question so that we may know whether the three
Caliphs - Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman - belonged to the Ahle Bait
of the Prophet, and were included in the hadith we've mentioned
(Thaqalain, Safina, Bab-e-Hitta). If they are included, then we
must follow them, according to the orders of the Prophet.
Seyyed: No one believes that
any of the Caliphs except Ali was included in the Ahle Bait of
the Prophet. Of course, the three Caliphs mentioned were good
companions of the Prophet.
Well-Wisher: Did the Prophet
tell us to follow a particular individual or group? If one faction
says that it is expedient to follow other people, should we obey
the Prophet or follow expediency as determined by the community?
Seyyed: It is obvious that obedience
to the Prophet is obligatory.
Well-Wisher: After the Prophet
has instructed us to follow the Holy Qur'an and his progeny, why
have others been preferred? Did Abu'l-Hasan Ali Bin Isma'il Ash'ari,
Wasil Bin Ata, Malik Bin Anas, Abu Hanifa, Muhammad Bin Idris
Shafi'i, and Ahmad Bin Hanbal belong to the progeny of the Prophet
or the Commander of the Faithful, Ali and his eleven descendants?
Seyyed: Obviously, no one ever
said that these people belonged to the Prophet's progeny, but
they were notable jurists and pious men of the community.
Well-Wisher: But according to
the consensus of the community, the twelve Imams are the direct
descendants of the Prophet. Your own ulema agree that they are
the equals of the Holy Qur'an, and that obedience to them leads
to salvation. Moreover, the Prophet said that they are the most
learned of men.
In light of these emphatic injunctions, what reply will they give
when the Prophet asks them why they violated his dictates and
let others supersede his progeny? Is there any injunction from
the Prophet that the Asharis or Mu'tazalis should follow their
leaders or that the Malikis, Hanbalis, Hanafis, and Shafi'is should
follow their leaders in the practice of the faith? Nobody so much
as mentioned their names for 300 years after the death of the
Only later, for political or other reasons which I am not aware
of, they appeared on the stage. But the Imams and the descendants
of the Holy Prophet were well known during the Prophet's own time.
Ali, Hasan, Husain and Fatima were known as Ahle Kisa, that is
"the people of the mantle." They were the ones in whose
praise "the verse of purity" was revealed. Is it proper
to call those who follow Ali, Hasan, Husain, and other Imams infidels?
You have preferred those who did not belong to the progeny of
the Prophet, to those who were ideal jurists. What answer will
you give in the divine court of justice when you will be asked
as to why you misguided the poor people, why you called the followers
of the Ahle Bait infidels and innovators?
You fault us because we are not the followers of the creeds of
Hanafis, Malikis, Hanbalis, or Shafi'is. And yet you don't follow
Ali, despite the clear and vivid injunctions from Allah and the
Holy Prophet that you should do so. Without good reason, you follow
one of the four schools of law and have closed the doors of jurisprudence.
Seyyed: We rely on the four
Imams in the same way as you rely on the twelve Imams.
Well-Wisher: Well done! What
a good thing you have said!
The number of the twelve Imams was not specified by the Shias
or their ulema many centuries after the death of the Prophet.
Many hadith, narrated from both Sunni and Shia sources, prove
that the Prophet himself specified the number of the Imams as
Among your many ulema who have recorded this fact is Sheikh Sulayman
Qanduzi Hanafi, who writes in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 77,
concerning the statement: "There will be twelve successors
Yahya Bin Hasan in his Kitabu'l-Umma has narrated in twenty ways
that the Holy Prophet said that his successors would be twelve
in number, and all of them would be from the Quraish. It has been
narrated in three ways in Sahih. Bukhari, in nine ways in Sahih
Muslim, in three ways in the Sunan of Abi Dawud, in one way in
the Sunan of Tirmidhi, and in three ways in Hamidis Jam'-e-Bainu's-Sahihain.
There are many of your ulema, such as Hamwaini in Fara'id, Khawarizmi
and Ibn Maghazili, each in his Manaqib, Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir
and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, and Seyyed Ali
Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda 10. All have recorded
12 hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas, Ubaya bin Rabi'i Zaid
bin Haritha, Abu Huraira and the Commander of the Faithful, Ali.
All of these narrate in different, but similar, words that the
Prophet said that the number of his successors and Imams would
be twelve, and that all of them would be from the Quraish. Some
hadith say that they would be from the Bani Hashim. In some traditions,
the specific names of the twelve successors have also been given.
Some give only the number. I have cited only one example out of
the many hadith of your ulema. Now can you cite a single hadith
indicating that the number of his successors would be four? Even
if there were one such hadith, we would accept it in preference
to our own.
Regardless of the fact that you cannot quote a single hadith about
your four Imams, there is a great difference between the Shia
Imams and your Imams. Our twelve Imams are the divinely appointed
Regarding your Imams, only this much can be conceded: they possessed
the knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) and could interpret the
Holy Qur'an and the hadith. Some of them, like Abu Hanifa, according
to the admission of your own ulema, were not included among narrators
of hadith, jurists, or mujtahids, but were people who relied on
their own opinion. This in itself is evidence of their lack of
knowledge. On the other hand, the Shia Imams are divinely appointed
guides, ordained successors of the Holy Prophet. Of course in
every age there are some highly learned jurists and scholars among
the Shias who interpret the commands of Allah, keeping in view
the Holy Qur'an, the hadith, and the consensus of opinion. We
follow the verdicts of such ulema. Although your jurists were
pupils of, and derived most of their knowledge from, the Shia
Imams, you blindly follow your elders, those of their students
who deviated from the bases of knowledge and relied on speculation.
Seyyed: How can you claim that
our Imams derived benefits from your Imams?
Well-Wisher: It is an historical
fact that Imam Ja'far Sadiq excelled all others in knowledge.
The eminent Alim, Nuru'd-Din bin Sabbagh Maliki acknowledges in
his Fusulu'l-Muhimma that the holy Imam was conspicuousLy known
for his learning. He writes: "People derived knowledge from
him in different spheres. People came from distant lands to receive
instruction. He became well known in all the lands and the ulema
narrated more hadith from him than from any other member of the
Ahle Bait...." A large group of the distinguished people
of the community, like Yahya Bin Sa'id Ibn Jarih, Malik Bin Anas,
Sufyan Thawri, Abu Ainiyya, Abu Ayyub Sijistani, Abu Hanifa, and
Saba - all have quoted his narrations.
Kamalu'd-Din Abi Talha also writes in his Manaqib that prominent
ulema and religious leaders have quoted hadith from the holy Imam
and have gained knowledge from him. Among them he mentions the
names of those mentioned in Fusulu'l-Muhimma. Even enemies acknowledged
the merits of the holy Imam. For instance, Maliki in his Fusulu'l-
Muhimma and particularly Sheikh Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Salmi in his
Tabaqatu'l-Masha'ikh write: "Verily, Imam Ja'far Sadiq excelled
all his contemporaries. He had instinctive knowledge and expertise
in religion, complete piety in the world, abstinence from all
worldly desires, and deep wisdom."
And Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i has recorded all these merits of
the holy Imam in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, chapter VI, page 81: "This
learned man was of the distinguished leaders of the Ahle Bait.
He was endowed with deep knowledge and was always in a state of
remembrance of Allah. He often recited the Qur'an and gave its
interpretation. His companions gathered pearls from the sea of
his knowledge. He divided his time in the day and night in different
forms of devotion. A visit to him served as a reminder of the
hereafter. To listen to his speech led one to adopt piety, and
to follow his instructions led to the attainment of paradise.
His luminous face signified that he belonged to the family of
the Holy Prophet. The purity of his actions also showed that he
was of the progeny of the holy Prophet. Many of the ulema have
received hadith and gained knowledge from him. Among them were
Yahya Bin Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Malik Bin Anas, Sufyan Thawri,
Ibn Ainiyya, Sha'ba and Ayyub Sijistani. All were grateful for
their good fortune and privilege in learning from him."
Nawab: Shias believe in the
twelve Imams. Why is Shia'ism associated with the name of Imam
Ja'far Sadiq and called the Ja'farite sect?
Well-Wisher: Every prophet,
in accordance with the divine command, appoints his successor.
Muhammad declared Ali to be his successor and ordered the community
to obey him. But after the death of the Prophet, the caliphate
was seized by Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. During their caliphate,
except during the earlier days, Abu Bakr and Umar consulted Ali
on all matters and acted upon his counsel. Moreover, the great
ulema and eminent scholars of other religions who came to Medina
in search of religious knowledge were completely satisfied with
their discussions with Ali. Throughout his life, Ali continued
to serve Islam in many ways. After his martyrdom, when the Bani
Umayya became rulers, the imamate was cruelly suppressed. Imam
Hasan Mujtaba, Imam Husain, Imam Zainu'l-Abidin, and Imam Muhammad
Baqir were victims of the extreme cruelty of the Umayyads. All
roads of approach to them were closed and except for a few of
their followers, others could not benefit from their knowledge.
Every one of them was murdered.
In the beginning of the second century after the hijra, however,
under the heavy pressure of the atrocities of the Umayyads, the
people rose up against them. Bloody fighting ensued between the
Bani Abbas and Bani Umayya. While the Bani Umayya were busy defending
their own ruler, they could not continue their oppression of the
Ahle Bait. Accordingly, Imam Ja'far Sadiq emerged from the seclusion
imposed by the Umayyads. He instructed people concerning religious
laws. Four thousand lovers of knowledge gathered around his pulpit
and quenched their thirst from the holy Imam's limitless ocean
of knowledge. Some of his chief companions have recorded four
hundred doctrines which are known as Usul-e-Arba'mi'atin - meaning
"The 400 Verdicts."
Yafi'iy Yamani wrote that Imam Ja'far excelled all others in his
knowledge. Jabir Ibn Hayyan Sufi, wrote a thousand-page compilation,
listing nearly 500 booklets based on the teachings of Imam Ja'far.
Some of the great Sunni jurists were also his students. Abu Hanifa,
Malik Bin Anas, Yahya Bin Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Muhammad Bin
Ishaq, Yahya Bin Satid Qattan, Sufyan Bin 'Uyayna, Sufyan Thawri
- all benefitted from his immense learning. This great flowering
of learning occurred at this time because the Bani Umayya obstructed
the way of his ancestors, and unfortunately the Bani Abbas would
restrain his descendants from speaking freely. The reality of
Shia'ism was unveiled and the merits of the Ahle Muhammad were
proclaimed by Ja'far Sadiq. Accordingly, this sect became known
as "Ja'fari," but there is no difference between Imam
Sadiq and any of the four Imams among his ancestors and the four
Imams who preceded him or the six who came after him. All were
divinely commissioned spiritual guides.
Although both friends and enemies recognized his excellence in
knowledge and perfection in all merits, your predecessors refused
to treat him as the most learned theologian and perfect man of
his age. They refused to recognize his school of law along with
the other four schools, even though he held the most exalted rank
in learning and devotion, as admitted by your own ulema. Since
he belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Holy Prophet, he had a right
to receive preference over others. In spite of these factors,
your fanatical ulema have shown such callous disregard for the
progeny of their Prophet that your high-ranking theologians, like
Bukhari and Muslim, would not even record hadith from this faqih
(jurist) or the Ahle Bait. Moreover, they did not quote hadith
from any of the Imams or Sa'dat of the holy progeny: Alawi, Husaini,
Abidi, Musawi, Rizawi or from such ulema and jurists, like Zaid
Bin Ali Bin Husain, the Martyr, Yahya Bin Zaid, Muhammad Bin Abdullah,
Husain Bin Ali, Yahya Bin Abdullah Bin Hasan and his brother Idris,
Muhammad Bin Ja'far Sadiq, Muhammad Bin Ibrahim, Muhammad Bin
Zaid, Abdullah Bin Hasan, Ali Bin Ja'far (Arizi), and others,
all of whom were outstanding ulema and jurists and who belonged
to the family of the Prophet.
On the other hand, they have quoted hadith from people Like Abu Huraira, whose character is known to you all, and from the great liar and forger, Akrama, the Kharijite. Your own ulema have confirmed that these men were liars and yet, they accept their hadith with all their hearts. Ibn Bayyit writes that Bukhari has quoted as many as 1,200 hadith from the Kharijis and Nasibis, like Imam Bin Hattan, the admirer of Ibn Muljim, the murderer of the Commander of the Faithful. The followers of Imam-e-Azam (Abu Hanifa), Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Hanbal consider them pure Muslims though none of them belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Prophet, and every one of those sects is free to adopt his own
ways though there are great differences in fundamentals as well
as practices among them. How regrettable it is that they call
the followers of Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq infidels! And in
all places dominated by Sunnis, including Mecca, about which Allah
says, "Whoever enters it is free," they are not free
to express their faith or to perform their prayers. So you good
people should know that we Shias are not the cause of differences
in Islam; we have not brought about disunity among Muslims. As
a matter of fact, much of the disruption appears from your side.
It is you who call 100 million Muslims infidels, although they
are faithful believers along with you.
Hafiz: It is true, as you said,
that I am not an unjust man. I admit that there have been outrages
due to fanaticism. I would like to say without any pretension
or flattery, that I have benefitted greatly from your talk and
have learned a great deal. But with your permission, let me say
one thing, which is a complaint, as well as a defense of the worthy
Sunni Sect. Can you tell me why Shia preachers and ulema like
you do not check your common people from making statements which
lead to unbelief? The result is that others get a chance to use
the word unbelief against them. A man may become the target of
attacks because he has made an improper assertion. So you people
should also not make the Sunnis the target of your attacks. The
Shias utter things which affect the hearts of the Sunnis, who
in turn ascribe unbelief to the Shia.
Well-Wisher: May I know which
statements or actions lead to unbelief?
Hafiz: The Shias find fault with the chief companions and some of the pure wives of the Prophet; this is obviously an act of unbelief. Since the companions fought for years with the Prophet against the infidels, it is obvious that their services were free from all moral imperfection. They certainly deserve Paradise, particularly those who gained divine blessings. According to the Holy Qur'an: "Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree." (48:18)
There is no doubt that the Holy Prophet respected them. One who
denies their excellence is certainly misled. The Qur'an says:
"Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation
that is revealed." (53:3-4) Such a person denies the Holy
Prophet and the Holy Qur'an, and one who denies them is undoubtedly
Well-Wisher: I hoped that such
topics would not be raised in this public meeting. My reply might
reach the uninformed people, and they might spread adverse propaganda.
It would be better if we discussed these matters privately. I
will call on you some day, and we will solve this problem in private.
Hafiz: I am sorry, but many
of our people for the past several nights have insisted that this
topic be discussed. Your discussion is always reasonable. If you
make a convincing reply, there will be no unpleasant repercussions.
Otherwise, you concede the point to us.
Nawab: It is right. We all want
the issue to be resolved here and now.
Well-Wisher: I only comply with
your wish. I did not expect that an able man like you, after the
complete explanations that I have given during previous nights
on the question of infidelity would attribute infidelity to the
Shia sect. I have already submitted complete proof that the Shia
Ithna Asharis are the followers of Muhammad and his holy descendants.
You have raised several issues. I will reply to each of them separately.
First, you said that Shia criticism of the Companions (sahaba)
and some of the wives of the Prophet leads to infidelity. I don't
understand the basis of this statement. If criticism is supported
by evidence, it may be allowed. And even if one makes a false
charge, this doesn't make him an infidel. He would be called a
sinner, like one who drinks wine or commits fornication. And certainly
every sin against divine law is pardonable.
Ibn Hazm Zahiri Andalusi (born 456 A.H.) says in his book Al-Fasl
fi'l-milal wa'n-Nihal Part III, page 227: "If one abuses
the companions of the Prophet ignorantly, he is not to blame.
If he does it with knowledge, he is a sinner like other sinners
who commit fornication, theft, etc. Of course if he curses them
intentionally since they are the companions of the Prophet, he
is an infidel because such behavior' amounts to enmity against
Allah and His Prophet. Otherwise, simply abusing the companions
does not amount to infidelity."
Accordingly, Caliph Umar asked the Prophet to permit him to behead
Hatib, the hypocrite, although he was one of the great companions,
a muhajir (emigre), and one who took part in the Battle of Badr.
For his abusing and attributing hypocrisy to him, Umar was not
called an infidel. So how is it possible that the Shias should
be called infidels for abusing some of the companions, supposing
for the moment that what you say is correct. Moreover, the great
ulema of your sect have rejected your point. Among them is Qazi
Abdu'r-Rahman Shafi'i, who in his Muwafiq has rejected the reasoning
of your fanatic ulema about the infidelity of the Shias. And Muhammad
Ghazali writes that cursing and abusing the companions is never
an infidelity; even cursing the two sheikhs does not constitute
Mulla Sa'd Taftazani writes in Sharhe Aqa'id-e-Nas'i that "Some
intolerant people say that those who curse the Sahaba are infidels.
It is difficult to accept that view. Their infidelity is not proved
because some of the ulema favored them, overlooked their evil
deeds, and made foolish pleas in their support. They said that
the companions of the Prophet were free from all sin, although
this assertion was contrary to facts. Sometimes they fought among
themselves. Jealously and love for power often moved them to commit
evil actions. Even some of the prominent sahaba were not free
from sinful actions. So if, on the basis of some evidence, one
criticizes them, he should not be condemned for it. Some people,
because they favored the sahaba, covered up their evil actions.
But some did record their evil actions and censured them."
Apart from this, Ibn Athir Jazari, the author of Jam'u'l-Usul,
has included the Shias in Islamic sects, so how can you call them
infidels? During the period of the first caliphs, some people
cursed the sahaba for their evil deeds. Nevertheless, the caliphs
did not order them to be put to death for their infidelity. Accordingly,
Hakim Nishapuri in his Mustadrak, Part IV, pages 335, 354, Imam
Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad Part 1, Page 9, Dhahabi in his Talkhise
Mustadrak, Qazi Ayaz in his Kitab -e-Shifa, Part IV, chapter 1
and Imam Ghazali in his Ihya'u'l-Ulum, Volume II, report that
during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, a man came to him and uttered
such filthy language and curses against him that those present
there were moved to indignation. Abu Barza Salmi asked the Caliph
if he would permit him to kill the man because he had become an
infidel. Abu Bakr said that it could not be since no one except
the Prophet could pass such a judgement.
In fact, the Sunni gentlemen surpass even those whom they support.
The Caliphs themselves heard abuses and charged people with infidelity
or ordered them to be killed. Moreover, if cursing the sahaba
is a cause of infidelity, why don't you call Mu'awiya and his
followers infidels. They cursed and abused the most perfect of
the sahaba, Ali Bin Abu Talib. Being selective in this matter
only shows that your aim is something else. You wish to fight
against the Ahle Bait and their followers! If cursing the sahaba
is infidelity, why don't you charge Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha with
infidelity? All your historians have said that she frequently
abused Caliph Uthman and openly declared: "Kill this old
idiot, for truly he has become an infidel." If, however,
a Shia says that it was good that Uthman was murdered because
he was an infidel, you will instantly rise up against him. But
when A'yesha told Uthman to his face that he was na'thal and an
infidel, neither the Caliph forbade her to do so nor did the sahaba
reproach her. Nor do you find fault with her.
Nawab: Respected sir, what do
you mean by the term na'thal?
Well-Wisher: Firuzabadi, who
is one of your high-ranking ulema, gives its meaning in his Qamusu'l-Lughat
as "an old idiot." Also there was a Jew with a long
beard in Medina with this name, with whom Uthman was compared.
The commentator on Qamus, Allama Qazwini, also giving the same
meaning, says that Ibn Hajar in his Tabsiratu'l-Muntaha, writes,
"Na'thal, the Jew with a long beard, lived in Medina; he
resembled Uthman very much."
Finally, if one who abuses the sahaba is an infidel, why did Caliph
Abu Bakr, in the presence of sahaba and a gathering of Muslims,
abuse the most exalted sahabi, Ali Bin Abi Talib? You praise the
merits of Abu Bakr although you should condemn him.
Hafiz: Why do you falsely accuse
him of this charge? When did Caliph Abu Bakr abuse Caliph Ali?
Well-Wisher: Excuse me! We do
not report anything until we have made complete inquiries. Perhaps
you should consult Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume IV, page 80,
where it is recorded that Abu Bakr, taunting Ali from the pulpit
of the mosque, said: "He (Ali) is a fox, the evidence of
which is its tail. He creates disturbances, minimizes the importance
of big disturbances, and incites people to make an uproar. He
seeks help from the weak and accepts assistance from women. He
is like Ummi't-Tahal (an adulteress in the days of ignorance,
as explained by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid) with whom the men of his family
were fond of committing adultery."
Now you may compare Abu Bakr's abuse of Ali with the criticism
made by Shias against the sahaba. If abusing any of the sahaba
amounts to infidelity, then Abu Bakr, his daughter, A'yesha, Mu'awiya
and his followers should be labelled infidels. If it does not
constitute infidelity, then you cannot call the Shias infidels
on that score.
CALIPH UMAR HELD THAT CURSING A
MUSLIM IS NOT INFIDELITY
Moreover, according to the verdicts of your own great jurists
and Caliphs, those who curse the Caliphs are not infidels. Imam
Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad, Volume III, Ibn Sa'd Katib in his
Kitab-e-Tabaqat, Qazi Ayaz in his Shifa, part IV of chapter 1,
report that the governor of Caliph Umar, Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz, wrote
from Kufa that a man had reviled and abused Umar Ibn Khattab,
the second Caliph. The governor sought permission to execute the
man. Umar Ibn Khattab replied that it was not permissible to take
the life of a Muslim for abusing or cursing any Muslim excepting
one who abuses the Prophet.
ACCORDING TO ABU'L-HASAN ASH'ARI
EVEN CALLING ALLAH OR HOLY PROPHET
BY EVIL NAMES IS NOT INFIDELITY
Some of your prominent ulema, like, Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and his
followers, believe that if a man has faith in his heart and yet
displays infidelity (by practicing Judaism or Christianity, for
example) or rises up to fight against the Prophet, or calls Allah
or the Prophet evil names, even then he is not an infidel. Faith
means belief in the heart and since no one can be aware of another's
heart, it cannot be said whether the apparent infidelity was from
the heart or not. The Ash'ari ulema have also discussed these
issues in their books. Ibn Hazm Andalusi has written in detail
about these points in his Kitabu'l-Fazl (Part IV, page 204, 206).
In light of these facts what right have you to charge the Shias
MOST COMPANIONS ABUSED ONE ANOTHER
BUT NOT REGARDED AS INFIDELS
In your authentic books, like Musnad of Ahmad Hanbal, Volume II, page 236; Sirat-e-Halabiyya, Volume II, page 107, Sahih Bukhari, Volume II, page 74, Sahih Muslim, Kitab-e-Jihad wa Asbabu'n-Nuzul Wahidi, page 118, there are many hadith indicating that most of the companions abused each other in the presence of the Holy Prophet. But the Prophet didn't call these men infidels. He admonished them. (The narrations about these quarrels and mutual enmity are recorded only in the books of the Sunnis, not in Shia books). In view of these remarks, I hope that you are satisfied that cursing or abusing any companion does not constitute infidelity. If we curse someone without any reason, we will be
sinners, not infidels. And every sin is forgivable.
HOLY PROPHET OF ISLAM KNEW ALL
GOOD AND BAD ACTIONS OF SAHABA
Second, you said that the Prophet respected and honored his companions.
This is correct. In addition, all Muslims and men of learning
agree that the Holy Prophet knew the good and bad actions of the
people. He appreciated their good deeds. Accordingly, he esteemed
Nushirwan's justice and Hatim Ta'i's munificence. If he respected
someone, it was for his good deeds. But appreciation shown to
one for doing a good deed, does not prove that his end will be
fortunate. Perhaps he will commit evil deeds in the future. If
he does, upbraiding him beforehand, is unjustified, even though
it may be known that he will commit the sin in the future. Ali
knew of the sin and damned end of Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi
and repeatedly told him that he was his assassin. At one point
he explicitly said: "I want him to live, but he is bent upon
killing me, and this treacherous friend belongs to the clan of
the Murad." This statement has been recorded by Ibn Hajar
Makki towards the end of Part I of Sawa'iq, page 72. Yet Ali did
not intend to punish him. Hence, the hadith which indicates that
the merit of some particular action or statement is not necessarily
influential for all time to come.